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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Q and A: butter beans and rendering beef fat

Original Article

by Jackie Clay
Butter beans
I am so glad it is starting to thaw where you live. I’ve always enjoyed reading your blog and articles. I know you can let butter beans dry in their shells, but is it possible to dehydrate fresh shelled butter beans or peas? If so, will the finished product taste more like fresh shelled when rehydrated? Thanks for your help. I hope spring comes early for you.
Shirley Toney
Liberty, Mississippi
Yes, you can dehydrate fresh, shelled butter beans and peas. And, yes, they’ll taste just about as fresh as newly shelled beans/peas. We’re hoping that Spring comes gently so all this snow doesn’t turn to slop. But any way it comes, we’re sure ready for it! — Jackie
Rendering beef fat
We bought some beef and took all the fat as well (to can for use with dried beans which taste awful without some sort of fat for flavoring). However, how does a person can raw beef fat? You say it’s tallow is not as good as pig fat for making pies and such however I didn’t want to throw it away. So do we render it first and then throw the hot fat in a cool jar and put a lid on it? That should seal itself. Then pressure can it? Or water bath it? What do you think? Or just put the raw stuff into jars and pressure can as for meat? (Probably not recommended I think.) Or process it as you do the bacon by rendering it a bit first and then canning it while it’s still hot? Thanks for your help on this! And spring finally showed up here too! Happily it won’t be a 6 month winter like last year!
Louise Sandy
I would render it down just like lard, then put into hot, sterilized jars while very hot, then put on a hot, previously-simmered lid, and screw down the ring firmly tight. Just like you do lard. No further processing is necessary. Keep in a cooler, dark place. It should remain good for a long time. Why not can up some of those dry beans with a bit of your beef fat, before rendering, for flavoring? I also add onions and spices to my canned beans to perk up the “blah” taste. I’m sure glad Spring is showing its face at your house, too. We’re all pretty glad for warmer weather. Now if we just don’t get the March or April blizzard! — Jackie